One of the things that characterises the anti-trans movement in the UK is its use of crowdfunding, essentially an online begging bowl. But unlike many women’s organisations, the anti-trans groups don’t seem to put much effort into promoting their crowdfunders; also unlike many women’s groups, they attract suspiciously large donations.
For example, the Transgender Trend group (effectively one individual, a sculptor who’s found a new career spreading anti-trans scaremongering) recently banked two anonymous donations totalling Â£35,000 within minutes of each other. Crowdfunding doesn’t usually work like that. Donations are usually Â£10 here, Â£20 there: even three figures is rare.
In recent months, UK anti-trans groups and individuals have raised over Â£280,000 via crowdfunding.Â That money’s been raised to pay legal costs for cases that never went to trial, to raise money for “living expenses” and to sit in individuals’ bank accounts while they borrow from it to help their cash flow. A lot of it is apparently sitting around, unspent.
When over a quarter of a million pounds has mysteriously appeared (and sometimes, mysteriously disappeared), it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that something rotten is going on here: tax evasion, dark money, possibly money laundering and in some cases what looks awfully like grifting.
We know the US religious right has spent millions on funding supposed grassroots groups throughout Europe via dark money, and we know that the UK anti-trans movement has strong links with the US religious right.
At least Â£279,729 has flowed into the coffers of UK anti-trans groups recently. That’s likely to be the tip of the iceberg: one group paid for a Metro wrap-around, market value Â£45K, before it started seriously fundraising; others accept donations via PayPal, which aren’t public (the UK Brexit party used this method to disguise its donors)).
There’s an astonishing amount of money being moved around here.
Where’s the money coming from?